marame reviewed To Have and to Hold (Wyckerley, Bk 2) on
Helpful Score: 4
This was a very hard book to read, and it didn't t get any easier on the second go around. I first read it about 5 years ago and was horrified by it. I didn't like the characters, what Sebastian did to Rachel, nor her response.
Now I'm older and wiser and while it was still difficult to turn each page, I now understand some of the demons riding Sebastian. He's not an easy man to like, let alone understand, but it's worth it to stick it out, if only to read about the depths to which a man can sink and finally rise, healed and triumphant.
Rachel is hard to like, too, only because you feel so much for her that you want her to rebel, fight back, and finally feel something . . . anything. This book is not for the faint of heart, but I recommend it only because I've never read anything remotely like it.
I went into this book expecting pain from what I've read by other reviewers. Rachel Wade's story is depressing and honestly upsetting. Much of the time you wish she'd fight just a little more, but you understand why she doesn't and in that way I think she was fighting. She survived a horrible ordeal. I was expecting to hate Sebastian more than I did, but truthfully while he was unbearable at times she made him understandable as well. His path to redemption was heartwarming.
This book wasn't typical, and strangely it was more realistic to me than other books I have read, if only because the issues that Sebastian are dealing with are inner demons, selfishness etc. Unlike your normal "hero" in a book he doesn't really inspire the unknowing brute turned sensitive, or the good man underneath a rough exterior. No Sebastian is a bad guy and he likes it that way, he knows who he is and all around he's bored with life. He isn't just a rake, or ladies man that we all know almost all guys are in Romance Novels, he's especially decadent and sick in his soul, but some inner part of him realizes when he sees Rachel that he doesn't want to be that way anymore, and that maybe she can heal him.
They heal each other and as always there's a happy ending in store.
I enjoyed the book, but it isn't for light readers who are looking for a quick feel good catharsis. There may even be lingering upset for Rachel's life and circumstance, but it is beautifully written and a very good story.
I have to say that I read To Love & Cherish first. The end of that book gives you a "look" at this one. The moment I read it I was intrigued by this story. I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book.
WOW. I didn't expect what I read. I didn't expect Sebastian to be such a cold, cruel person and I hurt at what he did to Rachel. But I read through it, and watched them both heal each other and found him to be as tortured as he was. She for a crime she didn't commit and spent 10 years in jail for, and him for parents who should never have had children. I am simplifying his childhood because I don't want to give the book away.
If you are looking for a "light easy historical romance" then I agree with some of the other reviewers who said this is NOT it. This novel is deeper than that. It touches you in ways that you don't expect, and really left me feeling hopeful. Patricia Gaffney takes subjects that most authors wouldn't touch and takes you through the turmoil, the pain, the humiliation, all the way through to the new beginning that is there if you really want to take it.
This book is a keeper for me - it is not for everyone. It is not going to be a politcally correct, feel good book. However, if you very intense romances, where the hero is not perfect and has a lot to atone for with the heroine, this is probably a perfect read for you. The journey they make together and how they are able to heal each other was an amazing story for me. I loved this book, and I will definitely read more by Patricia Gaffney.
This is NOT a quick, light read. That being said, I really enjoyed this book. It is completely different from any other romance genre book that I have read. I found myself hating the Hero and wanting the heroine to stand up for herself. In the next instance, I was sympathizing with the fact that the hero is plagued by demons and the heroine is completely beaten down and broken by the circumstances in her past. This book is not for the faint of heart.